Nearly every week, I talk to Christians throughout the world who are struggling with appropriating their identity in Christ. They tell me, “I am struggling with (insert issue).” Often in such conversations with people, I wonder if they understand the root symptoms and causes of their struggles in the Christian life. Dr. Beeke understands this issue very well as a Pastor and seminary Professor he deals with backslidden believers, I’m sure on a nearly daily basis, which is why he wrote, Getting Back in the Race: the Cure for Backsliding.
Dr. Beeke’s purpose in writing this book is to “awaken Christians to the reality of backsliding, to help us recognize it when it starts, to show where it may lead, and to empower believers- those who are in the grip of backsliding, or those in a position to help the afflicted—to get back into the race by the grace of God” (Beeke, 12). One of his intended goals is to introduce his readers to the vast area thought on backsliding from Christian writers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries (Beeke, 12). Sadly, as he rightly notes on page 12 backsliding is not a topic that is often discussed in the Church. This book is saturated in the Bible and the Gospel. Getting Back in the Race was written by a Pastor who longs for Christ’s backslidden people to return to their Chief Shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ. Getting Back in the Race: the Cure for Backsliding is an extended treatment on backsliding and the perseverance of the saints.
Chapter one is the most helpful chapter in my opinion as the author sets forth to explain the root causes of backsliding and how to overcome them. Here in chapter one the author explains that “backsliding is a season of increasing sin and decreasing obedience in those who profess to be Christians” (Beeke, 16). Especially convicting is the author’s description of what symptoms demonstrate a believer whose backsliding: coldness in prayer, indifference under the Word, growing inner corruptions, the love of the world, declining love for believers, and man-centered hopes” (Beeke, 22). After explaining the symptoms of backsliding the author turns to explain the results of backsliding: injury to God’s holy and worth name, suffering, sin and apostasy of children and decay of the church (Beeke, 35-37).
Chapters two through four explain Hosea 14:1-9 by focusing on the physician of grace, the medicine of grace and the healing of grace. Throughout these chapters Dr. Beeke faithfully explains and applies Hosea 14:1-9 in a way that honors the Scriptures and draws the reader to the Gospel. In the conclusion, Beeke exhorts his readers to look to the suffering, bloody Savior who bled on behalf of His elect people who, because of His finished work persevere to the end. In other words Dr. Beeke is exhorting Christian readers that because of Christ’s finished and sufficient work in the Cross and the resurrection to run the race to the end.
Getting Back in the Race: the Cure for Backsliding is a very helpful book that will help many believers to understand the nature and symptoms of backsliding in order to avoid the many pitfalls that befall believers. As I read this book, I could not help but see areas in my own walk with God that need to be addressed, for example occasionally, I get cold in my prayer life. Rather than merely focusing on “why I’m cold” in prayer life, I appreciate how Dr. Beeke calls his readers back to the Cross and the empty tomb in order to have greater assurance and confidence in Christ. Perseverance increases assurance. Those who persist in works that spring from faith will attain high levels of assurance, which is why believers must persevere to the end in faith, holiness and obedience.
I recommend you pick up a copy of Getting Back in the Race: the Cure for Backsliding—it will help you deal with areas in your own walk with God that need to be addressed while encouraging you to look to the cross, mediate upon the cross, and run to the cross as you follow Christ in all of life.
Author: Dr. Joel Beeke
Publisher: Cruciform Press 2011
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”